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The turtles were a threatened species but are now on the endangered list, conservation authority says

The London Free Press,
Randy Richmond,
June 6 2016

They’ve been doing well in London, but not so great elsewhere.

The spiny softshell turtle has been listed an endangered species in Canada because of loss of nesting habitat, the Upper Thames Region Conservation Authority said Monday.

The turtle had been listed as threatened for the past four years.

An endangered species is one that is at risk of extinction throughout its normal geographic range. A threatened species is one that is likely to become endangered in the future.

The nesting sites of the spiny softshell turtle have been lost through development, dams, erosion of river banks, invasive plants, recreational use along river banks and the illegal harvest of turtles, the Conservation Authority noted.

But “as populations continue to decline in most areas, the Thames River has become a stronghold for this species in Canada, due in large part to over 20 years of recovery actions,” Scott Gillingwater, the authority’s species at risk biologist said.

Gillingwater has spent years working to protect and improve the turtle’s habitat along the Thames River and on the weekend won the W.W.H. Gunn Conservation Award from Ontario Nature.